Comical Super Bowl Prop Bets Generate Serious Business, Halftime Show Controversy Ensues

Posted on: February 1, 2019, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: January 31, 2019, 11:22h.

Super Bowl 53 kicks off this Sunday at 6:30 pm ET, and a flurry of wagering activity will consume oddsmakers and online sportsbooks in the hours leading up to the New England Patriots and Los Angele Rams title match.

Super Bowl odds prop halftime show
Several Super Bowl prop bets on Adam Levine and Maroon 5’s halftime show are live at sportsbooks. (Image: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty/

There are thousands of ways to bet on the big game, and oddsmakers say prop bets – novelty lines that can appeal to a wide variety of demographics – have become important handle generators.

Appearing on Fox Business’ Varney & Co this week, South Point Casino oddsmaker Vinny Magliulo revealed prop betting accounts for around 50 percent of the Super Bowl handle. Last year, Nevada sportsbooks took in $158.58 million in wagers.

Prop bets are those non-traditional offerings. They can be anything from picking who will be Super Bowl MVP (Tom Brady is the favorite at +130, Jared Goff next at +250), to the result of the coin toss (Heads -105, Tails -105), to slightly more unusual odds such as what the Super Bowl champs will be served if they visit the White House (Fast Food +210, Anything Else -320).

As for the traditional point spread, the Patriots remain 2.5-point favorites.

Despite the expansion of legalized sports betting in the US, CBS has told its announcers to refrain from referencing odds during the broadcast. The chances of the on-air talent going against those orders are at +215, or implied odds of 31.75 percent.

Halftime Props

Maroon 5 will perform during the halftime show, and while it’s traditionally been the ultimate gig, this year it has garnered much criticism from the music industry.

Several artists were rumored to have turned down the offer including Rihanna and Jay-Z, who remain displeased with how the league handled Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protests. Jay-Z raps in a track, “I said no to the Super Bowl. You need me, I don’t need you.”

The NFL canceled a planned media event with Maroon 5 this week. The league explained in a statement, “As it is about music, the artists will let their show do the talking.”

The odds of a player taking a knee during the national anthem are Yes +300, No -500. That means oddsmakers feel strongly both teams will stand during its singing. At halftime, Maroon 5’s “Makes Me Wonder” is the favorite for the opening song at even odds. “One More Night” is next at +550, and “Moves Like Jagger” third (+600).

Commercial Success

Just as many people – or more – watch the Super Bowl for the advertisements as they do for the game. Over 40 companies have their spots queued up at a cost of $5 million per 30 seconds.

The over/under for the total number of commercials to run during the big game is set at 96.

Odds are also set on which alcoholic advertiser’s commercial will appear first. Budweiser is the frontrunner at +175, followed by Bud Light (+190), and then Stella Artois, Michelob Ultra, and Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer (+400).